Every year I promise myself that our next home will have windows that actually, truly open. Windows like I had in my office at the Massachusetts Statehouse where on particularly beautiful mornings I would climb up on my windowsill and pull the window up six or seven feet and it still wouldn’t be fully open and just stand there, inside yet outside, letting the cool, soft, morning air wash over me. Just stand there, hearing the traffic from Beacon and Park, smelling the wind that had just ruffled the trees in the Common, simply feeling the morning in my small corner of Boston. Until David would see me from his window, call my extension, and tell me that whatever it is, it isn’t worth it.
The smaller version that I grew up with in a historic row house would work too. But windows, with panes, that actually let air into the building, have been something that I’ve been promising myself for a while. Instead, I’m on the 48th floor of a gorgeous high rise with views that stretch to both Iowa and Evanston, with windows that don’t ventilate. Trade-offs.
So my doctor’s instructions this morning, written on my lab results, in all caps: “GO HOME. STAY THERE. OPEN WINDOW.” smarted a bit, especially because Chicago is having one of those summer days that compel you to be outside. If it were January, the temperature would be -30 degrees and kids would be kept home to prevent death by freezing cold wind. But it’s August, so we have a beautiful, 70 degree breeze with white caps on the lake and tourists wandering around confused, because they thought they were in Chicago, not San Diego.
I’m neutropenic, which basically means that my white blood count has gone well below normal (normal range: 4.5 – 10…I’m at 0.15). This is normal for post chemo, it’s just the last time I had these counts I was in the hospital, delirious with bony pain and various opiates, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. The drugs that give me bony pain (Neulasta last time, the daily, less painful Neupogen this time) are designed to prevent the numbers from going that low, or at least help them recover faster if they do. The dull, aching throb in my pelvis and femurs for the last few days tell me that the medicine is doing something, but apparently not enough.
Because I’m me, I’m cheating, and writing this while sitting on my balcony (too windy to read out here), but I’m on lockdown for a couple days.
Other than that, things have been going well. I was released from the hospital on Sunday, went to see Of Monsters and Men and Florence and the Machine at Lollapalooza that afternoon, went to work for the first time in five weeks on Monday (yes, it was strange, but also comforting), slept all day Tuesday (post-prednisone crash), got a cold/bronchitis/new antibiotics on Wednesday/Thursday and my lockdown instructions this morning. No allergic itchiness, no extreme bony pain, just life, but with cancer/chemo.
I’m slowly making my way through the pile of books and DVDs and other fun distractions that you wonderful people have sent my way…thank you. I’ll have some news for you next week when I get a new round of scans. Fingers crossed. And then I’ll be back in the hospital on the 20th for round three. It’s a little amazing that it’s all moved so quickly.
Much love to all of you,